Data and You

Data and You explores the impact of 'systems' on the individual. It became a catchall phrase to discuss the (usually negative) effects of applications of automation, big data, machine learning, and natural language processing technologies on social and civic issues, rights, ethics, and politics. The aim of the project is to document and analyse the interaction of big data technologies with human identity and rights, and what these interactions mean for rights to freedom of speech and expression.

We do this through a collection of nine essays called Seen Through Machines released serially in Autumn 2017. These essays take a variety of cases, anecdotes and cultural objects as starting points - language processing algorithms, fintech, sexuality identity categories, anti-rape technologies, malware, etc -and through them explicitly address the interaction of big data technologies with gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race, and class. The collection describes processes of quantification, categorisation, and pattern recognition and their implications for people and institutions that work for human rights, freedoms and dignity.

In addition to data and discrimination, it also introduces a third D, design, of digital interfaces and apps and the contexts in which they are designed. This section examines systems and user design in the context of digital security and privacy to inspire informed and politicised discussions about accountability in design processes.

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More from this project

On Weaponised Design

Weaponised design is a process that allows for harm of users within the defined bounds of a designed system. This article takes a look at how it can be faciliated by designers who are oblivious to the politics of digital infrastructure or consider their design practice output to be apolitical.

Quantifying Homosexuality: A Critique

This article examines a few moments related to the history of homosexuality and its categorisation. It starts with recent facial recognition algorithms to distinguish straight and gay faces and ends with Alan Turing’s questions about gender and The Imitation Game.

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